It may be small but it packs a punch and embodies a significant milestone in the history of the Catholic Church in England. St. Mary’s has the nickname The Hidden Gem for good reasons. Tucked into an old side street off Albert Square, the building itself goes unnoticed among its neighbours. Step inside, however, and you will be surprised by the elaborately ornate interior and the weird juxtaposition of the modern art rendition of the Stations of the Cross against the classical architecture.
I like to go there from time to time to pause my mind and light a candle in memory of my mother. Maybe I’m biased because I was brought up as a Catholic, but the church has a certain charm. Even for non-believers, quiet spaces like this are good for a moment or two of contemplation or meditation and they are especially useful when they are situated bang in the middle of a hectic tourist route. Drop in and tune out for a while; it is open every day, though you may want to check beforehand if there are services on – it is a functioning place of worship.